He Said, She Said
Catwoman is a book that, to put it nicely, is struggling to find a mature voice for itself. I've detailed its ups and downs (mostly downs) in past reviews, so I'm not going to belabor on the point. Last issue was actually an up...at least from the standard nonsense we've been batting from the series. The last issue was not amazing, but it held up as a respectable and somewhat entertaining adventure story. This issue has yet another mandated crossover intersecting with whatever Nocenti might have planned for the series were she ever given the chance to come up with some original plot lines without the latest event being layered on top of what little there is of an ongoing story. It seems as if the ties between Selina and Damian are close to non-existent, so it is hard to see how the Requiem plotline can really play a significant role here, but maybe this issue will surprise me. Does this issue deliver a fun adventure which manages to mourn the loss for one of DC's greatest new characters of the last decade, or is this just another story rife with nonsense and non-sequiturs?
In this issue, Catwoman and Batman tangle over Selina's most recent theft.
Requiem for Catwoman
Let's go ahead and get this out of the way. Is this issue worth buying if you want to see some mourning over Damian's death? No. Bruce has an attitude, gets rougher with Selina than usual, loses his temper and vents some rage, and that's about it from a “mourning” standpoint. This might be somewhat intriguing, but you can see all of this presented much better in the latest issue of Batman, so why bother seeing a repeat of it here? Unless more of the same eems appealing to you, I would suggest you save your money if you were just interested in the tie in.
I'm going to try to make this brief since I am, once more, running behind in reviews. Keep in mind that I am now reviewing this series in a very special way. I'm viewing this from the lens of a campy, light-hearted adventure story which pretends to be nothing more, and I will base my rating on how well it fits that criteria. If you are expecting this to be a more serious comic which is fascinating, detailed, clever, and intellectual, then I can tell you to pass on all of Nocenti's run because she has already proven that is not what she is doing with this series.
1. There are three errors of the first page. It appears some editor is not doing his job. First, the wall behind the paintings is faded, but in reality, it should be the only part of the wall that is not faded since it was not getting hit by light. The colorist reversed it. Second, Batman's dialogue in the second panel has an error in it for the second sentence should start with a capitalized letter but does not. Third, in the third panel the line should read, “They belonged to us,” but it reads, “They belonged us.” I'm not trying to nitpick these pages. They are obvious mistakes.
2. I actually rather enjoyed Batman being rough with Selina. She's just a thief. She deserves no special treatment.
3. On the top of page 3, Selina lands on her neck and dies. Roll credits.
4. Many people have criticized Selina's dialogue since Nocenti took over, and there is a lot to criticize in that she frequently talks like...well, like nobody. Nobody talks like Nocenti presents Selina as talking. However, all those apparent attempts to sound cool by saying things nobody says are absent in this issue. I'm not saying the dialogue is strong in this issue, but at least it is made up with phrases that people actually use.
5. I do not much care for Batman's whole attitude of, “I am going to make you do the right thing because these paintings belonged to the people of Gotham! I don't give a crap if you steal from individuals, but museums are sacred!” I understand that Bruce is actually trying to make up for other things lost in his life right now, but still, these are the words Bruce uses, and Catwoman buys into it as well, and it just smacks of collectivist nonsense. The U.S was founded on the idea of individual rights meaning that you have just as much right as an individual as a hundred people do as a collective. No group or individual should be able to take away your property just because it benefits them, but I've digressed. Anyway, it's stupid Progressive thinking, and it should be kicked to the curb even in poorly written comics.
6. Why are there ink splatters all over the page? Every page looks like the inker took his brush and just kind of flicked the bristles at the screen one at a time. I guess this could be a cool effect to use sparingly, but it is in nearly every panel, and what does it add or convey? I do not know which part of the art team is responsible for it, but what is the idea?
7. Oh, I almost forgot to address plot holes. Why does Batman think Selina stole these paintings to get his attention, and why does Selina know these paintings will get his attention? Out of all the crime in Gotham, they both mention these paintings as something very special, but why the crap would Catwoman know about his love for them?
8. On the positive side, Selina assumes that Bruce is upset over Joker, and that actually makes sense. She does not know about Damian, but she knows about Joker, so she makes a logical, if incorrect, assumption. Way to stay in universe, Nocenti!
9. Bruce says, “Put them back, please,” while thinking about the different members of the Bat Family and picturing them all falling. Maybe I'm being dense, but I do not see how this makes any sense in a symbolic sort of way. Damian is the only one missing right now.
10. Despite my annoyance with ink splatters, this issue actually has some pretty good art in it. I actually think this issue would be at least as good if not better if the whole interaction between Selina and Bruce had no words.
11. Apparently, Catwoman's desire to accessorize does not include lingeries since I'm nearly positive I've seen this particular set of undies previously.
12. For the second time in two issues, we actually see Selina scouting a mission rather than running in blindly. Cool. I hope this continues because the planning is an essential part of any good caper story as far as I am concerned.
13. There are a couple of weird looking animal images in the latter half of the issue one of which has to be a shout out to the Penguins of Madagascar.
Spoilers until Conclusion
14. There would be cameras watching the evidence room.
15. Selina is a complete fool for robbing her client. Nobody would work with her again...ever. Also, it ties in to that whole, “It's okay to rob from a person but not from people” mentality which makes no sense.
Like I said before, you have got to know what your getting into with this series. If you want something intelligent, go somewhere else because you are simply not going to get it here, but as fun adventure stories go, this is kind of okay. Big fans of Selina and Bruce might want to consider buying it because it has some good moments between the two, and I do enjoy the more methodical nature of Selina's last couple capers, but it still is a book rife with problems, so I can only really recommend it to those who have already been enjoying the series. Everybody else, be very wary.
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